2017 is already upon us and before we could even know, the month of January is about to end. For the last few days, we did see a lot of SEO predictions plaguing the internet but it’s time readers get the actual overview of what 2017 is about to offer, in terms of search engine optimization.

That said, in this post we will be discussing some of the wackiest SEO predictions which haven’t been heard of, in the past decade or so. We wouldn’t be trying to play safe this time as the biggest anomaly with optimization is when organizations try to play it safe. SEO, like any other marketing move, is prone to risks and open to massive rewards.

While we all know that mobile SEO is going to grow big in 2017, this post isn’t about the facts which are already known to us. Most experts have opted to go conventional this year— stating the obvious pathways— including the growth of UX and mobile optimization.

Both these predictions are true but they hardly stir emotions. This post, however, might just break a few hearts as everything isn’t going to be easy for the marketers in the current year. Google, in simpler terms, is heading towards greener pastures in 2017 and the upcoming predictions are based on the things which have already propped up.

Brace Yourself for Unpredictable Ranking Shifts

If the likes of Panda and Penguin bothered you, be ready to witness something more challenging this year. Google’s newest algorithmic shift, unlike the traditional classics like Caffeine and Florida, is expected to be a silent killer.

To be exact, 2017 will show up with the biggest ranking shift— ever encountered. The main protagonist, however, would be RankBrain which works on the lines of machine learning and artificial intelligence. The method of query selection will be at the forefront of Google’s latest algorithmic change but the after effects will be felt, slowly.

If Google’s older algorithms felt absurd and random, RankBrain will surely put your patience to test. The sole purpose, here, would be to select pages, prioritized according to user engagement. In simpler words, pages with most engagement, in terms of comments and clicks, are expected to show on top.

No wonder we are upbeat about the forums offered by Hotstar, Cinemabox apk, and other newly established streaming companies which function as Android applications and even dedicated websites— allowing users to interact with each other. Higher levels of engagement will surely do wonders to these lesser-known streaming clients.

Be Ready for the Unnoticeable Changes

While Panda, Hummingbird and Penguin came blasting with massive ranking shifts, most of these took down almost 90 percent of organic traffic, overnight. RankBrain, on the other hand, will bring in changes ever so slowly.

Google, via the latest update, won’t actually kill out your traffic but redirect the same from pages with low-engagement to the ones with massive engagement metrics.

Therefore, most SEO checking tools won’t be able to gauge these smallish changes with gradual and long-lasting impacts.

Unison of Organic Listings and Featured Snippets

This approach will readily converge the concept of organic listings with the testing environments called data snippets. Google will surely be using them, just for testing out the efficacy of engagement signals. Consolidating these two aspects will surely yield great results, mainly for Google’s RankBrain.

Google to Kill Organic Listings from 6-10

Yes, this is exactly what I want to put forth, in my predictions for 2017. Google, via the newest update, will concentrate more on higher search rankings as lesser people click on the results that are placed further down the page.

Bottom half of complete search results i.e. position 6-10 will be eliminated. This will freak out most marketers who were banking on the bottom half of search results, as they were never able to scale on top of the first page.

As machine learning is going to show its impact, SERPs will be decluttered and expected to trade places with more advertisements. This in turn will readily improve the CTR, making things more fruitful for the early adopters and page toppers.

Local SEO will Breathe its Last

The local SEO journey needs to stop at some point of time. Instead, Google seems to be concentrating more on the commercial queries. As a result, the local organic vigils will starve to death.

The Era of Black Hat SEO will Return with Fake Engagement

Illegitimate SEO techniques are inevitable and will surely pop up with Google planning a new algorithmic shift. Google has already detailed its webmaster guidelines and there might be new additions to it in 2017.

We have already mentioned how important engagement metrics would be in 2017. While most firms will try to keep things organic by improving the dwell time and CTRs, certain users will still try to make this tactic work in an illegitimate manner.

If my memory serves me right, something similar happened a decade back when link buying was a predominant black hat SEO technique.

Tool Providers vs. Google

Many tool providers who offer insights into rankings and other changes might just be pushed out by Google, lest they abide by the terms and conditions of the same. Most rank checkers interfere with click through rates and even bounce calculations, making it hard for the bots to gauge actual metrics.

Therefore, it would be hard for the likes of Megabox apk, Vistame, 123movies, and other streaming clients to stay afloat in the world of competitive SEO, using myriad tools. Google has already sent an intimation to these providers, via a tweet which warns them regarding automated queries pushed into the search engines— further disrupting the TOS.

I am expecting a penalty for those websites which use rank checkers, excessively.

Death of an SEO Firm

Google has scapegoats which are often chopped off as examples to other violators. As we know that the algorithms are going to change and metrics are expected to evolve in a big way, Google might just kill off any well-known SEO firm— just to set things straight.

SEO won’t Die

While the predictions might have rubbed a few people in the wrong way, the bigger picture will still remain the same. SEO will continue growing in a positive direction even in 2017 although machine learning will make it far more evolved.

Therefore, if you are looking to enter the marketing channel in 2017, SEO would still be of paramount importance. This brings me to the final prediction that companies with legit techniques and higher levels of engagement are going to thrive and even in 2017 content will be the king as it is the content quality which will determine the levels of engagement— across multiple channels.

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